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HLW Celebrates Women’s History Month by Elevating Everyday Leaders

Tags Culture, Event

A group of women in a business meeting, engaging in introductions with a slide on the monitor, in a room with a large wooden table and a cork wall, likely celebrating International Women's Day.

A group of women at a rooftop terrace on a sunny day.

For Women’s History Month 2024, our firm took a unique and multifaceted approach to celebrating women’s contributions by turning the spotlight on the incredible women within our own company. We asked them, in a couple different ways, “How do you raise your voice to make a difference in your communities?”

To kick things off, Anjali Mathai, HLW’s DEI Director, sent out a company-wide survey asking employees to share stories about how they demonstrate leadership in their communities. The survey revealed a diverse range of leadership roles held by HLW women. Principal Lisa Knip mentors future generations in construction, while Senior Project Manager Dawn Paruta fosters networking for women in design through nature walks. Architect Mila Sergeeva champions sustainability through her work with USGBC LA, and Anjali’s volunteer efforts with the Boy Scouts extend HLW’s impact beyond the workplace.

The survey also asked HLW women what advice they would give to others who are looking to pay it forward. Here’s what each respondent had to say:

“Find an organization or activity that feels natural to you and your skill set. Be open. Don’t hesitate to share personal experiences.” — Lisa Knip, Principal

“Paying it forward creates a ripple effect of kindness. By initiating an act of kindness, you inspire others to do the same, leading to a chain reaction of positive actions within your community.” — Mila Sergeeva, Architectural Designer

“My advice is to always positively show up for others, especially when they are asking for your time. You will no doubt touch their lives in ways that you can’t imagine, even if not noticed immediately.” — Anjali Mathai, DEI Director

“Partnership is invaluable. Find someone with a shared interest and dive into whatever you want to undertake together.” — Dawn Paruta, Senior Project Manager

HLW’s celebration didn’t stop there. On March 20th, a Global DEI activity brought team members together for a powerful discussion on “Women Who Inspire.” This thoughtful session wasn’t just about historical figures; it focused on the women who shape our daily lives, both professionally and personally. It fostered a space for open dialogue about mentorship, authenticity, and the challenges women face in the AEC industry. Participants shared stories highlighting the power of female role models, and discussed how empathy, kindness, and being true to oneself can empower others. The conversation also addressed the need to raise voices collectively and advocate for positive change.

Additionally, our Los Angeles office hosted a dynamic discussion with female business owners and mothers, fostering a sense of community and inspiration. The open conversation explored achievements, shifting corporate culture since the early days of Women’s Day, and left participants feeling motivated by shared stories. With eight external guests and twenty internal participants, the event strengthened connections within our community.